5 minute tax updates: 19-23 October

An ATO value-adding client resource for tax professionals
Payment times reporting change now law
ATO gives guidance on SMSF penalty remission or otherwise
Current round of ATO Open Forums are all about one thing
GST and subdivided land case outcome
Crypto-currency and tax: An OECD perspective
GST large group governance update released
Regulator seeking tip-offs on foreign property investment breaches
Tax professionals conversations: 12 November live webcast

An ATO value-adding client resource for tax professionals
The cashflow coaching kit is a resource the ATO has developed for practitioners, which provides a framework for value-added business coaching conversations with your small business clients. The simple and practical tools in the kit help clients gain a practical understanding of the importance of planning, budgeting, funding and tracking business performance. It comes with targeted webinars and “show-me-how” videos. See the online offerings here. A paper-based version of the cash flow coaching kit can be ordered through the ATO’s publication ordering service by searching for “cash flow coaching kit – lite” (NAT 75239-10.2019, and note that you will need to log in or register under the Tax Agent category, including BAS agents, to order).

Payment times reporting change now law
The bill that requires businesses and government enterprises with an annual total income of over $100 million to biannually report on their payment terms and practices for their small business suppliers is now law. The Payment Times Reporting Bill 2020 has received assent and was introduced with the Payment Times Reporting (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2020 which had already received assent.

ATO gives guidance on SMSF penalty remission or otherwise
The ATO’s PS LA 2020/3 gives tax officers options to consider when deciding on remission of penalties imposed on SMSF trustees, including incidents of voluntary disclosure, seriousness of a contravention, and actions the trustee may have taken to rectify it. The practice statement also sets out the process to be applied in administering the penalty, which includes determining if a penalty is imposed, who is liable to the penalty and a trustee’s appeal rights.

Current round of ATO Open Forums are all about one thing
The ATO forums for practitioners are no longer held at different venues around the country, but are online. The current round of forums are all labelled the same — “Open Forums present a conversation on supporting you and your clients through COVID-19” — and run until the end of this month. Register here.

GST and subdivided land case outcome
In San Remo Heights Pty Ltd and Commissioner of Taxation (Taxation) [2020] AATA 4023, the applicant subdivided a single parcel of land over an extended period but also carried on rental and grazing activities. The case dealt with whether sales of subdivided lots were in the course or furtherance of an enterprise. There was no evidence of purpose to the applicant’s acquisition of the land. The controversy is whether an element of the definition of “taxable supply” in the GST Act is satisfied, namely whether the sales were “made in the course or furtherance of an enterprise that [the Company carried] on”. The decision affirmed that the company has not proven transactions were part of an ongoing enterprise.

Crypto-currency and tax: An OECD perspective
Crypto-assets, and virtual currencies in particular, are in rapid development and tax policymakers are still at an early stage in considering their implications. As such, the OECD has prepared with the participation of over 50 jurisdictions the report Taxing Virtual Currencies which is the first comprehensive analysis of the approaches and policy gaps across the main tax types (income, consumption and property taxes) for such a large group of countries.

GST large group governance update released
The ATO has published the latest Top 100 and Top 1000 GST assurance programs. Its justified trust program seeks greater assurance that taxpayers in the large market are reporting the right amount of GST. The purpose of the latest guide is to explain how the justified trust methodology is applied with regard to reviewing the existence, design and operation of GST controls as part of an effective tax control framework.

Regulator seeking tip-offs on foreign property investment breaches
The ATO says it welcomes tip-offs from anyone in the community who has concerns about suspected illegal behaviour and activities by foreign persons relating to their ownership of Australian residential real estate (it even has a tip-off form). The ATO doesn’t spell out how to ascertain the foreign non-resident status of a person if one has no inside knowledge, but it does provide examples of the sort of breaches its seeking to uncover — also mentioning that self-disclosure of a breach should lead to a lower penalty.

Tax professionals conversations: 12 November live webcast
Save the date for the ATO’s next Tax professionals conversations webcast on Thursday 12 November at 2.00pm AEDT. These are the ATO’s series of free, one-hour webcasts (livestreams) for the tax profession. Covering key topics relevant to you, your practice and your clients, the livestreams feature a panel of experts including members of professional associations, registered tax and BAS agents, digital service providers (software developers) and senior ATO staff.

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